Voices from Russia

Thursday, 26 November 2015

26 November 2015. Happy Thanksgiving From Us to You

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Dozhinki (Harvest Thanksgiving) celebration in Belarus


Today is American Thanksgiving… the rest of the world already had Thanksgiving… usually, it occurs around the Harvest (as it does in Canada, occurring in October). That’s so that events can take place outdoors; people set up tables in the yard and feast outside. It’s a festival of thanks for the harvest, so people take the first-fruits to the church for blessing (and distribution to the poor afterwards). Thanksgiving didn’t begin with the English Puritans… it’s an ancient and venerable holiday, known to all peoples.

Have a wonderful day with your family and friends…


Sunday, 27 September 2015

LNR Participants Took Part in Khotmyzhskaya Autumn International Festival of Slavic Culture in Belgorod Oblast

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Земля моя (Zemlya moya: My Land) sung by Nadezhda Krygina (Honoured Artist of Russia)


Today, Tatyana Litman, Director of the Lugansk Palace of Culture, Nelli Malyugina, head of the folk music ensemble Родные напевы (Rodnye Napevy: Down-Home Tunes), and Yelena Yeremenko, head of the Левша (Levsha: Lefty) folklore club, told a news conference that LNR musicians and crafters were part of the Khotmyzhskaya Autumn Festival in Belgorod. Malyugina noted:

This festival has international status; this year, in addition to local groups, participants came from Belarus, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (Russian Federation), Serbia, and the Republic of Crimea (Russian Federation). Our Lugansk people took part in the festival for the very first time; the audience gave us a very warm reception. We even experienced some embarrassment; when the time came for our evening performance on the first day of our arrival, each group had to work up an intro… a few words about the group and a greeting. When we went on stage, we were apprehensive, but the full hall stood up and began to applaud. That was their reaction to our group from Lugansk. We sang two songs, Земля моя (Zemlya moya: My Land) and Ревела степь донская (Revela step donskaya: Revelry from the Don Steppe).



2013 Festival… narration in Russian… wonderful images


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Yeremenko, a master of beadwork and lapidary work with natural stones, said:

All the members of the LNR delegation presented their work. Not only had our group, but also Master of Embroidery Larisa Samoilov and Master Woodcarvers Yuri Tikhy and Viktor Kuznetsov given presentations. I thank the Lugansk Centre of Folk Art for organising the trip; the festivalgoers really appreciated our works.

Litman concluded:

We say thank you… we received lots of positive emotions, but most importantly, we gained belief in a future where our culture could live and prosper.

On 19 September, Khotmyzhsk in Borisov Raion of Belgorod Oblast (Russian Federation) hosted the Tenth Khotmyzhskaya Autumn International Festival of Slavic Culture. The festival is held biennially, to preserve and develop international cultural coöperation and strengthen friendly relations between the Slavic peoples, promote and develop original music, along with encouraging folk song, dance, festive-ritual culture, fine arts, and arts and crafts of the peoples of Russia and the SNG.

22 September 2015

LITs Lugansk Information Centre


Sunday, 20 September 2015

20 September 2015. Translated Russian Demot… This is Better Than McDonald’s Is!

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Friday, 11 September 2015

11 September 2015. Popular Customs of the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

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These rituals and customs are NOT “canonical” or “official”; rather, they’re popular expressions of belief that differ from place to place. On the feast of the Beheading, many people avoid anything that resembles the head, blood, a sword, or cutting anything:

  • On the day of the Beheading, many people won’t put anything round on the table, that is, no food on plates, as the head of St John the Baptist was on a dish
  • Many refuse to eat round fruits and vegetables (apples, potatoes, melons, onions, turnips) on this day
  • Many believers refuse to use a knife, sickle, scythe, or axe
  • Many people won’t cut food, for instance, one had to break bread
  • South Slavs strictly enforced a ban on red fruit and drinks (as “it is the blood of St John”), so, they don’t eat black grapes, tomatoes, or red peppers
  • Belarusians in Vitebsk Oblast won’t cook or eat borshch, believing that since it’s red like blood, it means that someone of that household will spill blood that year
  • Some Russians banned singing and dancing on this day, as Herod’s daughter sang and danced as she begged for the head of St John the Baptist

These beliefs are not Church beliefs… they’re popular folk beliefs. In fact, many urban believers didn’t follow them, even in the 19th century. That’s neither a put-down nor a denigration… it’s simply an observation that these things are spontaneous popular piety of the peasant people. If someone follows this, don’t mock them… they’re following customs taught them by their parents and grandparents. If you don’t follow them, be silent in the face of such popular observances. They’re very real to the people who observe them. In my Father’s house, there are many mansions… these folk beliefs are an incarnation of that. You follow or not follow them, as you will, but you can’t criticise or mock those who do follow them. That’s one of the rules of the House…


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